Taking fitness and health coaching beyond the gym

Terrance is a former NFL player turned health coach and fitness trainer. He is the founder of Fit University from TPX and the author of Terrance Pennington's Play By Play: Coaching You Through His Weight-Loss Formula.

When I started my career as a health coach and fitness trainer, I knew I wanted to incorporate my experience as a former NFL player. I wanted to provide something more than a good workout – I wanted to deliver long-term success. Success comes from making powerful choices throughout the day that help you form new habits. But helping my clients create new habits would require being involved in their lives, even outside the gym.

Keeping clients accountable and inspired in their daily lives

Most of us need additional emotional and inspirational support to retrain our brains. It takes time to shift our relationship with food and our bodies. To get great results with my clients, I needed them to feel that I was alongside them every step of the way. That meant being there throughout the day, reminding them not to give up, and helping them get back on track when they were feeling too challenged.

I also needed to be reachable so that they felt like they could connect with me at any time, especially during tough moments. Connecting, supporting, and encouraging clients throughout their day is what delivers results. It’s a relationship. What you do in the gym is only part of success. Sustainable results require a lifestyle change.

That level of coaching can’t happen in a text or phone call. It’s a personal, emotional connection that needs to happen daily.

Daily remote coaching is key

It wasn’t until I included Marco Polo as a tool to connect with my clients that I saw a new level of commitment. Not only was I retaining clients longer, I was seeing long-lasting results.

Every day I connect, sending Polos while I’m making healthy meals, sharing quick lessons on a chalkboard, giving a workout demo, and even pointing out healthy products at the store.

More importantly, I’m there to keep them on track – and hold them accountable.

When I can see their faces and hear their voices, I understand the emotion they are experiencing and can coach them effectively. It’s essential in building a bond. They trust me to guide them and get them into action.

Clients send Polos when they’re emotionally triggered, ready to backslide into old habits, or tempted to skip a workout. I respond quickly. I know they’re in a vulnerable moment but committed to making a new, healthier choice. Those moments, when they make better choices, it’s like flexing a muscle. They build strength and better habits over time. I’m there in those pivotal moments, helping them choose more powerfully.

"Connecting on Marco Polo helps create powerful relationships that produce results, and ultimately gets clients to their goal."

Success is more than hitting the gym

Before Marco Polo, I only had face-to-face time with my clients at the gym. There was no way to support them on a daily basis.

After introducing Marco Polo as part of coaching, I have:

  • Increased my client base.
  • Retained clients longer.
  • Kept my clients accountable to their goals.
  • Interacted with all my clients every day.
  • Added exponential value, beyond just a workout.

I have a greater feeling of success now that I’m helping my clients reach their goals and change their lifestyles to maintain what they’ve achieved. I’m delivering long-lasting results.

3 Ways Terrance coaches clients on Marco Polo

1. Group demos

It’s great for connecting with clients as a group. I can demonstrate workouts or host a class covering fitness and health topics. I can bring them into my kitchen to cook healthy meals. I take them shopping with me, and point out what to buy and what not to buy. And talk about why.
2. Supporting new habits

I can talk clients off the ledge – away from the fast food. Many clients are shifting their relationship with food. I’ll receive Polos while they are sitting outside a donut shop or moments away from ordering a pizza. Eating is an emotional thing. It’s a major coping mechanism. So connecting on Marco Polo is like AA for getting healthy and fit. I require some clients show me what they are eating on a regular basis.
3. Providing peer support

If there’s a moment or situation that I may not be able to relate to (most of my clients are women), my clients reach out to our Marco Polo Group. They support each other. Clients know they are just one Polo away from expressing their emotions, clearing a hurdle, asking a question, or just getting a boost. They aren’t climbing the mountain alone.